“If you have an innovative idea, drive it hard with compassion and commitment. Results will definitely follow.” Perhaps that’s exactly what Anushka Jaisinghani had told herself when she quit her Corporate HR role and began her journey as an Entrepreneur in 2010. From a Sindhi family-centered in Bangalore, Anushka’s journey has been nothing short of a study in passion, focus, and creativity.
Her business was conceived when after 10 years of building an illustrious portfolio as an HR professional, she decided to quit and do something that fulfilled her. “I’m a born foodie and love cooking for my family. Post marriage, the financial assistance from my husband’s job gave me room to experiment.” That experiment turned into her entrepreneurial venture, ‘LJs Snackys’.
Anushka’s story is not your average quintessential startup success story. “We started in our garage space with just two staff members and myself. Launched small Snack Kiosk placed outside supermarkets selling 4-5 varieties of snacks.
Anushka wasn’t entirely alone in her journey, though. “My husband thought I had immense potential for this job. He figured out that one of my strengths was multitasking. Also, I credit my mother-in-law for formulating the recipes for the first five to six unique Sindhi snacks – which were not commonly available then. My family has been very supportive of me.”
The support Anushka received from her family manifested in her forming a business that supported many more people. “I wanted to create something labour-oriented such that it could provide unskilled people from marginalized communities some employment opportunities.” And with that mindset, one might say that she’s created a community, employing unskilled, but strong-willed and committed people.
Anushka has nurtured her 140 people strong workforce herself. “I told them that we shall provide the skill development for the job, and slowly all will learn from mistakes and master the art of snack making! Some were interested in learning the basics of computers, some wanted to learn English speaking and writing. Hence weekend classes for on job training and also extra classes for Computers and English courses were organised.
Backed by her team and an unwavering focus, Anushka turned her passion into an obsession, and the exponential growth of her business speaks volumes about it. By 2019, LJs Snackys was the preferred Corporate Snack Catering partner in Bangalore, catering to 10,000 employees on a daily basis. The company had diversified into different kinds of snacks, and had added creative team members into its fold providing variety acdss 24 working days. Seeing tremendous potential in the snack segment in 2018, Anushka set up a Semi Automated unit run only by Women to Manufacture “Frozen Samosa ” and launched a brand called Snack Me, with a 2000 sq. feet manufacturing space.
While the company grew a lot, cash flow was the only bone stuck in the neck, which was managed with support from Friends & Family. The pandemic was the next bigger challenge that sent Anushka reeling for a few months. “Our business came to a complete standstill – with a work from home scenario. . I was completely blank for 2-3 months. I hadn’t really focussed much on Snack Me until then, but the pandemic prodded my thinking into a new direction. I had to pull up my socks and survive” she says.
Anushka overhauled the Snack Me business plan, and in a simple, effective and creative masterstroke, found a whole market for her products.Developed an entire range of Frozen Snacks, Samosa, Rolls & Momos with Veg/ Non Veg & Jain “Looked for enterprising women in our community who were also facing business challenges due to Covid, Got them to work from home and set up our D2C channel of business approaching apartment complex & township, So these women helped broad-casted the “Snack Me Menu”through various channels within 5km radius of their residence and helped get us customers across most locations of Bangalore. We offered these Women 20% incentive on sales they bought. Through this model we set up 8 touch points across Bangalore .
Anushka is really grateful that structured entrepreneurial programmes have mushroomed all over the Country today, especially helping women aspirants not only set but also grow their businesses. . The Growtherator programme helps provide a holistic learning experience and also provides hand-on training & support from mentors from the Industry to help guide & coach.
In this almost perfect journey, there are only two things that Anushka felt was a challenge. One of them is “One Stop Solutions for all Corporate needs in Bangalore and focusing only on Top Line growth, she missed analysing costs of certain segments and realised somewhere down the line that money was being lost on certain segments that were not profitable. She believes that every entrepreneur must keep a tab on Finances closely , even if it’s a customary glance over the books. The second, she says, since Food business is time bound and quality being key importance – she did not find enough time to travel with her family, which she’s looking forward to in the coming years.
The thing that has kept Anushka going is her fiercely positive outlook, coupled with creativity. No matter what situation she finds herself in the middle of, she uses all the resources she has to make the best out of it. That, in her words, is the key to cracking this business.